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Population: 38 million
Internet penetration: 94%

Canada is a bilingual market with high consumption of news from foreign sources, especially the USA. Engaging broad audiences online and generating revenue is increasingly difficult, especially for local and regional news outlets, as news content is no longer visible on Meta’s social media platforms in response to new legislation.

The Canadian government’s Online News Act, introduced last year, required tech companies to compensate news organisations for showing their content on their platforms. Google eventually secured a deal to contribute around US$73m a year to be distributed among Canadian news publishers, but Facebook’s parent company Meta played hardball, blocking news media posts and links from its top networks. The ban led to an outcry, with some newspapers publishing a blank front page in protest and a number of large advertisers withdrawing their business from Meta platforms.

Almost a year after the boycott, many big media companies have adjusted their strategies and overall traffic to Facebook itself is largely unaffected – though news consumption and sharing is down 15pp in the past two years, at its lowest level since our survey begun.

News consumption on some other networks such as YouTube and TikTok is up, but small local and regional outlets which relied heavily on Facebook traffic say they are suffering – not the outcome policymakers were hoping for when they introduced the legislation.

Part of the money from the Google deal will go to broadcasters, including public media CBC and Radio-Canada, which had announced cuts at the end of 2023 but subsequently obtained an increase in public funding. The bulk of the money is to be distributed among eligible organisations based on the number of journalists employed, and will be allocated by a collective body which will settle disputes.

Big national brands like the National Post and Globe and Mail have been building subscription numbers but they face competition (free and paid) from US-based news brands such as CNN, Apple News, and the New York Times, which has signed up Canadian news consumers in large numbers over the past few years, according to our data.

Economic and structural pressures contributed to the reduction or closure of hundreds of local and hyperlocal news services, after a two-year relative lull.1 The largest media-telecom group in the country, Bell Canada Enterprises, laid off 6,000 employees, more than 10% of its total workforce. Forty-eight of its radio stations were sold to regional entities, six more were closed. Québecor, the largest media-telecom group in the Francophone market, eliminated one-third of jobs at Groupe TVA, its media branch, as part of a restructuring effort which involves, among other things, overhauling its news operations.

The end of a door-to-door flyer delivery service in Ontario and Quebec forced dozens of community newspapers to become digital only. The Metroland Media Group cut 650 jobs, while Métro Média ended operations in Montreal. SaltWire Network, owner of 23 newspapers in Atlantic Canada, filed for creditor protection, and Black Press Media, a group of 80 hyperlocal publications, was bought by Canadian institutional investors.

More positively, digital-born Village Media’s model of bundling local information such as weather, classified ads, school bus schedules, and community webcams, has allowed the company to expand its network across Ontario.2 Digital French-language daily La Presse saw growth thanks to its boutique ad service, which asks readers to volunteer information through features such as quizzes. It also had a successful donation drive. Daily newspaper Le Devoir increased digital subscriptions by 13% and is now registered to issue tax receipts to donors.

AdPerfect, a Canadian software firm which already provides a classifieds platform to Metroland Media, partnered with the Torstar group for technology to host obituaries. The firm was recently acquired by Tribute Technology, a leading software provider to funeral homes in North America.

The Local Journalism Initiative, a subsidy programme for news in underserved communities, has been renewed, and the cap on expenditures for the journalism labour tax credit is set to be increased. Some provincial governments are also contributing to support news organisations. The city of Longueuil in Quebec committed to increase its ad spending, to promote local media and to help lobby Canada Post for free door-to-door delivery of local newspapers.

Amid concerns about misinformation produced with generative AI, organisations such as the Globe and Mail, La Presse, and CBC made public their preliminary guidelines for the use of AI. New tools are being incorporated into workflows, including automating some checking of content, while broadcasters have experimented with AI-produced transcripts and text summaries of interviews.

Colette Brin and Sébastien Charlton
Director and Coordinator, Centre d’études sur les médias, Université Laval

Pay for online news


English-speaking: 16%

French-speaking: 11%

Listen to podcast in the last month


English-speaking: 44%

French-speaking: 29%


Trust in news overall



The downward trend of overall trust towards news in Canada continues with a loss of almost 20 percentage points since 2018. Trust has fallen equally amongst English- and French-speaking markets. Despite this, trust for most individual brands has increased a little this year, with the most widely used being trusted by over 60% of those who are familiar with them.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 81.7

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at


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